Is love the ultimate symbol of predestination, or of free will?
Is it necessary to annually celebrate something mankind is capable of feeling at any moment? The idea of being able to capture something sublime through a traditional celebration is a tempting notion. However, the privileged among us that have felt a perfect connection with another soul do not view traditional celebration as a gateway to sublime love. It is not the prearranged moments that provide the impetus for emotion, but emotion itself which provides the impulse.
Love as acceptance of one’s station is a charming notion. Marcus Aurelius speaks of love, opining, “Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.” To accept this notion is to speak of love as a binding force, a force that connects someone with the world fate has placed him in.
The idea of loving one’s fated destiny with entirety is a concept lacking in romanticism and transcendentalist charms. The fatalistic approach removes the uplifting power of sublime love. Acceptance itself is not a precursor to love. Rather, love, as a force, eases one’s acceptance of the things to which fate does bind one. The flaw herein is the forcible acceptance of those most immediate surroundings. With self-determination gone, the idea of a wholly sufficient love is less plausible.
Rejecting the notion of love providing situational acceptance alone, the role of love still requires definition. St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of love as something that “takes up where knowledge leaves off.” To speak of love as a filling entity to explain the unexplainable speaks to the indescribable nature of the feeling itself. A powerful force indeed, were it to possess the ability to fill in the universal gaps of knowledge. Here, a religious person of much zeal relies on love to fill in what our rational minds cannot grasp. To subscribe to this conception requires a belief that love is at least part of the answer to philosophical questions beyond direct empirical approach.
Love as an answer remains a common theme. This time, though, Aquinas offers a notion of love as a path to self-realization. “The things that we love tell us what we are,” he says. This seems like a more modern adaptation of the theories of love and love’s role in relationships. Few concepts are more intriguing than the idea that in one’s loves, partners, and objects of affection, a gleaning of self-realization is to be had. The mystery of identity is as reasonably answered by love as by any other force.
When one looks over at one’s love, what is it that one sees? The force of love contains the power to pervade one’s entire essence. One looks at that which one loves and witnesses characteristics present but otherwise previously unseen. Raw, sublime emotion has a remarkable unmasking power. The pervasion of love through the mind-body-soul as a cleansing agent acts to unsheathe true passions lying dormant within.
The metaphysical plane is the incorporeal region in which love makes its residential claim. Aristotle sheds the idea of love as a real-world tool towards self-realization and decries its existence on the physical plane, putting forth that “love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” This fully rejects the prior notion of love as an easing of fatalistic circumstance and handily fits into this overarching theory of love as a force. This force transcends traditional restrictive physical planes combining the essence of two into the space of one.
This concept of the shared soul would seem to make for an easy combination with the traditional romantic concept of finding one’s soulmate. However, there is a greater premise contained in this mode of thought. The nature of two entities meshing — connecting like puzzle pieces — provides the basis for sublime love. Building on this classical concept, imagine a situation where there are two souls that match seamlessly. This unified quintessence, a companionship between perfect complements, becomes a force that reverberates on both the physical and metaphysical planes.
To do justice to the concept of emotional euphoria and sublime love, one must seek it for oneself. Philosophical depictions can convey only the impressions of their authors. These connections exist in places that one would never suspect as feasible hiding spots for love. There is little substitute for the unspoken feeling of connection.
On this plane, the indeterminate nature of love is causative in its transcension beyond the simplicity of verbal expression. Perhaps John Donne put it best in his poetic work The Good-Morrow when he wrote, “My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares/And true plain hearts do in the faces rest.” When love is a binding entity, devoid of worldly restrictions, it is shared, but not seen. One gazes, smiles, and says nothing at all, but is nevertheless understood.